If your desktop is hopelessly cluttered with a host of unnecessary applications, then you can start to regain some control by minimising all open windows (press Winkey+M, or click bottom-right in Windows 7). Actually closing all those applications usually takes a little more effort, of course, but it doesn’t have to be that way: NTWind Software’s Close All Windows can do it in a click.
The program itself is tiny (a 36KB download), and doesn’t use any system resources or require installation. Just pin your preferred executable (there are both 32 and 64-bit versions) to the taskbar, or create a convenient shortcut if you’re not using Windows 7, and you’re ready to go.
Then, when you next need to regain control of your desktop, launch CloseAll and it’ll cycle through all the top level application windows on your desktop, sending them Close messages. So your security suite and anything else living in your system tray should carry on running, as normal: it’s only regular applications that will close.
And if any of these have unsaved work, then they ought to prompt you, just as normal: you shouldn’t lose any data. (That’s the theory, anyway, and it’s how CloseAll worked in our tests, but we can’t guarantee this will apply everywhere: test the program with your own applications, just to be sure.)
Of course closing every running application may sometimes feel a little drastic, particularly if you’ve a core set of programs you run all the time. But fortunately CloseAll takes account of this, too, and you can tell it to ignore particular programs by specifying them on the command line.
Change the shortcut properties to launch CloseAll like this, for instance – CloseAll.exe -x=”outlook.exe|firefox.exe” – and when launched the program will close everything but Outlook and Firefox. Check the ReadMe.txt file in the CloseAll download file to find out more.